Tag: Reefer Madness

U.S. House Spending Bills Includes Cannabis Banking and Other Reforms

The fight to end cannabis prohibition at the federal level is a slow grind, seemingly with one step forward preceded by another step or so back, but progress continues. The latest sign of cannabis law reform advancing are the initial drafts of U.S. House spending bills that include some much-needed provisions for the cannabis community. As usual, Marijuana Moment is on top of the reporting:

As Congress prepares large-scale legislation to fund federal agencies for the next year, marijuana reform seems to be making progress. House versions of spending bills unveiled this week include provisions to protect medical legalization laws from federal interference, ease marijuana businesses’ access to basic banking services, expand cannabis research, oversee the country’s fledgling hemp and CBD industries and finally grant Washington, D.C. the ability to legalize recreational sales.

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Among the most notable inclusions in the new spending bills for Fiscal Year 2021 is a provision that would remove some roadblocks to banking and financial services for state-legal cannabis businesses. Cannabis firms have been pushing lawmakers to allow such access for years. The House has passed standalone banking legislation, later inserted into a recent coronavirus bill and approved again, but so far the matter has stalled in the Senate and is yet to become law.

The new spending rider suggests House lawmakers aren’t giving up. As introduced, the spending bill introduced Tuesday to fund fiscal and general government matters restricts Department of Treasury funds from being used “to penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity that is a manufacturer, a producer, or a person that participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling hemp, hemp-derived cannabidiol products, other hemp-derived cannabinoid products, marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana proceeds” that is legal under state or tribal law.

It has grown tiresome to continue having debates around the need for sensible solutions to our nation’s cannabis policies, but no one ever said that political revolutions are easy. Decades upon decades of Reefer Madness propaganda and the entrenched powerful interests that have benefited from prohibition aren’t going away easily, but we are chipping away with common sense and the truth. Stay tuned as bills weave their way through Congress and be sure to contact your legislators and urge your like-minded friends and family members to do the same.

Responding to Reefer Madness Regarding IQ: Remember Carl Sagan.

Carl Sagan is one of my all-time heroes. He was a giant of the scientific community and a great thinker that dared us to dream, to push the limits of our knowledge. I was so bummed when he passed away in 1996, but even in death he enriched lives, as his use of cannabis became revealed. He became the ultimate trump card when someone told you that using cannabis made you stupid, we could always point to Carl Sagan as proof that they were just spouting Reefer Madness nonsense.

You never know when Reefer Madness nonsense is going to rear its ugly head. The myth that cannabis lowers your IQ made it into the news recently, coming to light during a totally unrelated political debate that I don’t need to delve into here. Of course, leading cannabis law reform advocates were quick to counter the madness as Marijuana Moment reported:

“Trump’s remarks simply reveal that he is out of touch, given that the majority of Americans support marijuana legalization for both medical and adult use,” Sheila Vakharia of the Drug Policy Alliance said. “This type of rhetoric is fear-mongering and inflammatory.”

“The evidence is clear from the dozens of states that have legalized medical and adult use—the sky isn’t falling and the kids are alright,” she said.

Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML, said that “what truly causes a decline in an individual’s intelligence is adhering to false Reefer Madness rhetoric that flies in the face of available science.”

If you hear someone spouting the Reefer Madness nonsense about cannabis making you dumb, the shorthand response can always be to refer to Carl Sagan, but if you really want to honor Sagan, you can point to the science. The most comprehensive study to date found no link between cannabis use and a decrease in IQ, as ScienceAlert covered:

The largest ever longitudinal twin study involving more than 3,000 adolescents from around the world has found little evidence to suggest that adolescent marijuana use has a direct effect on intellectual decline.

The study analysed the results of two separate studies that traced the lives of American adolescent twins over a decade, and both found that teens who engaged in regular marijuana use lost no more IQ points over time than their non-using twin siblings. 

It’s telling that Reefer Madness prohibitionists have to rely upon lies and propaganda to bolster their position that cannabis should remain illegal. Like Carl Sagan, we just have to seek out and promote the truth. In the end, the truth shall set us all free.

 

The Gateway Theory Has Been Debunked

As the cannabis legalization debate has moved into the mainstream, with 2/3 of Americans wanting to put an end to prohibition, it is still frustrating to hear those that oppose legalization cite the debunked “Gateway Theory.” There is simply no proof that using cannabis makes you want to move onto other drugs. Unfortunately, the debunked Gateway Theory is something that just won’t die, invading the public debate like a mindless zombie. Thankfully, a strong majority of people see through the nonsense and Reefer Madness propaganda.

From the good folks at the Drug Policy Alliance:

Research simply does not support the theory that marijuana is a “gateway” drug – that is, one whose use results in an increased likelihood of using “more serious” drugs such as cocaine and heroin. However, this flawed gateway effect is one of the principal reasons cited in defense of laws prohibiting the use or possession of marijuana.
Significant amounts of research as well as measures implemented in other countries suggest that there are far more effective and less harmful strategies for decreasing youth use of marijuana and reducing the potential harms of other illicit drug use than using the “gateway” myth as a scare tactic. New evidence suggests that marijuana can even serve as an “exit drug,” helping people to reduce or eliminate their use of more harmful drugs such as opiates or alcohol by easing withdrawal symptoms.
Reefer Madness prohibitionists may discount DPA, so here’s the Institute of Medicine debunking the Gateway Theory as “underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common, and is rarely the first, ‘gateway’ to illicit drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”
While we are clearly winning the debate of whether to end the failed and harmful policy of cannabis prohibition, it is still irritating to have to deal with debunked theories and stereotypes. For the cannabis community to truly be free, not just legally, but also professionally and socially, it is imperative to share your stories, including whether you and loved ones have decreased the use of more harmful drugs, like opiates and alcohol, thanks to cannabis.